Virginia has printed 1 million provisional ballots, an unprecedented number that could allow a large number of previously disqualified felons to cast ballots for president in the potentially crucial swing state.
So says Reagan George, the president of the Virginia Voters Alliance.
George, a conservative election watchdog, charged on Monday that the Virginia Department of Elections is overpreparing for worst-case scenarios and increasing the likelihood of illegal votes being cast. In reply to Republican complaints earlier this month, Virginia Department of Elections Commissioner Edgardo Cortés acknowledged officials are preparing for all contingencies, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
But George said the provisional ballot printing doesn’t make sense even for contingencies. And it doesn’t compare to demand in 2012.
“The claim that it is for contingency planning is bogus,” George said in an email. “In 2012, Stafford County used less [sic] than 500 provisional ballots — in 2016 they received 30,000. In 2012, Loudoun County used 700 provisional ballots. In 2016, they received 84,000. In 2012, Fairfax used 2,500 provisional ballots; in 2016, they received over 265,000. This is ridiculous.”
But spokeswoman Dena Potter of the Virginia Department of Elections said the state is trying to accommodate a court order.
"As part of its emergency preparedness efforts and in response to the [December] 2015 consent decree related to mitigating long lines at the polls, the Department issued guidance to local registrars on August 29, 2016, that included having enough provisional ballot envelopes to equal at least 20 percent of the number of active voters as of September 1," Potter said in an email.